Sunday, 18 September 2011

Holidays and Children


I am not complaining but......

No honestly I have nothing to complain about. However my husband and I have been married for 2 years and in that time we have gone virtually no where in order to pay for the up keep of our lovely home which I am very proud of but it means the IKEA kitchen purchase always ended up taking pride of place financially over having a life. If it wasn't the kitchen it was our back fence as our current one was falling apart and if it wasn't that it was saving for our sons arrival so we could get him whatever equipment helped us to care for him or just normal parents stuff of decorating his room so it looked child pleasing rather than old lady utopia!

So we went for it and went to Woolacombe for, hold on to your seats, a whole 4 nights....ooooooo! I had been with Eurocamp before and stayed in their caravan holiday homes and found them excellent, good comfy beds, a shower that I could manage and a nice lounge and accessible kitchen area. Even getting into the accommodation was easy enough as you could select a home with decking outside which meant more gradual steps up to the caravan. However the place in Woolacombe was some what different. We were beside another couple with a baby and they looked as exhausted at the end of their holiday as we were so I am not blaming my difficulties purely on being an arthritic. 

It took us a whole morning to pack the car up because my husband struggled with cases, bumbo seat, more cases, nappies,nappy bags, baby food, baby sterilizer,bottles, changing mat etc etc. We had already spent a whole evening packing every thing prior to putting it in the car, we needed a holiday from just the energy expended with this activity! Eventually we loaded our son into his car seat after he had pooed and needed a change, then having realised he had chucked his milk down his vest and was soaked, another change. We both took high amounts of pain killer in order to be able to drive the distance. My husbands foot always goes numb, then cramps and then hurts like hell so until we get to a service station he is virtually crying! My knees are due to be revised on the 23rd of sept and really are crunching and creaking and then just slip out of socket causing pain. The only way we can cope is by dosing ourselves up, still one thing was for sure, we were all happy in that car,even our son had calpol for his teething! We were all singing along to music on the radio etc. We stopped about 3 times mostly because of needing to feed, clean and feed Christopher (son) again! If you have a child, get a car with a good back seat space because baby changing stations in service stations are gross and not accessable for any one with limited arm and hand movement. 

We got to Woolacombe at 4pm, I took one look at the big steps into the caravan and laughed! My husband had to push me up them like he was pushing a hippo! I tried to bend my rubbish knees onto each step and then he pushed me with his back on mine up each step as since my old knees are giving up life I have no muscles around the joints to push on to do stairs. Eventually he got the old girl in! We both said in unison "ok if we go out we sure had better make it worth it". Christopher then followed in a much more gracious manner in his car seat followed by his luggage and then my husbands and my one bag of stuff! 

The space was fantastic in the caravan once in, a good sized kitchen with microwave and all mod cons, good sized bedroom for his cot and a decent double bed for my husband and I plus two toilets, one shower room and another child's bedroom. The accommodation was very good if it hadn't been such a struggle for me. We stayed on a quiet old person and young family park, there were noisier parks available with more entertainment on them but we didn't want noise!

We have a travel cot which really requires its own blog. For now we will say these cots are not accessible for any one with poor reach, poor muscular strength in upper body or bad backs. Choose your travel cot wisely! Christopher is very comfy in his and sleeps well in it but my poor husband could hardly move at the end of the holiday as he had to do all the picking him up out of this cot.

We did however have some lovely times and the struggle felt 100% worth it. We took Christopher to see the sea for the first time, we live no where near a coast so this was different for him. The closer we walked to the shore line the more he giggled at the crashing waves. We looked for shells in the rock pool which he tried to eat! If we had found a crab he would have stuck that in his mouth too!

We strolled slowly around Woolacombe,old people over taking us!  We had a lovely meal at a place called "The Red barn". Christopher sat in a high chair there that I am now on a hunt for. It was a simple seat with a simple across strap to harness the child in with a bar across the seat, if I find a source I shall let you know. The chair was a great height for me that even I could get him over the bar and into the chair. I have to admit I have just gagged at this memory as we ordered an all day breakfast one day and he had my hash brown and was sat there sucking it in his hand whilst the fat oozed out of it ewwww. It was tasty and well cooked but I won't be eating hash browns for a long time!

Painting at "Waves cafe" in Woolacombe.
Being creative is clearly exhausting!
We painted a plate at a pottery cafe. This was a gentle easy activity, the cafe was accessible, we all sat at a table with paints and brushes on it, ordered a hot chocolate and took a plate and created works of art. Christopher tried to paint one but he also tried to eat the brush so we ended up doing his foot prints. Then my husband and I created ours. They will be adorning the wall of our new IKEA kitchen!

We came back from the holiday asking ourselves would we do it again with a child of 8 months. The answer is no, we all had a lovely time but any parent will tell you their child doesn't get that much out of going away.You could go out to a park for the day and he or she would enjoy themselves as much. The amount of stuff to pack is phenomenal and you still don't have every thing to make life easy. If you add physical disabilities to all the hassle of taking a child away,leaving your accessible home you find it ten times more tricky. I couldn't help get Christopher out of his travel cot, I needed help in and out of the caravan, I couldn't have a shower to loosen my stiff joints in the morning as there was a huge shower step which I couldn't do safely.

If I was to pass one important bit of information on to any parent but especially those with physical difficulties, it would be don't go on holiday until your child can walk,needs less stuff and understands being patient because things take a lot longer to do when you don't have your set up that you have at home.

Our next holiday will be Euro Disney and when he is 3/4! Until then we will strictly be going on accessible days out which I shall be reviewing soon.

Cheers. x

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